Steve Hughes give his best bets for Epsom on Derby Day
I can’t see past Saxon Warrior for the big one today, but I can’t really put him up at odds-on, so instead I have some more interestingly priced horses elsewhere on the card. We made a good start to the Epsom meeting through Medburn Dream’s win (5/1)
Epsom 3.10: Century Dream
This looks a tricky race with not too many natural front-runners in a race where racing close to the pace might pay dividends. The obvious pacesetter is Love Dreams, but his stamina might run out over the extended mile and therefore Century Dream is the one taken to pick him off.
Very progressive over trips at around a mile on soft ground, there should still be enough in juice in the ground to help him this afternoon. He won a listed race at Ascot last time despite racing alone on the near rail, not necessarily an advantage at that track currently.
He has won four of his last six starts in total and settles well enough over this trip for the usual hood he wore as a youngster to be dispensed with. This does not look a hard race for a Group 3 so I take this improving 4yo to take that step up in grade.
Epsom 3.45: Harry Hurricane
A very frustrating gelding, I am going to chance my arm and have a small each-way bet on the pacy Harry Hurricane for the “Dash”.
The 6yo showed his customary pace over course and distance back in April, leading to the 1f mark before fading up the hill. However recent form shows he needs to be covered up for as long as possible and be delivered close home. Therefore he was always going to be unlikely he would keep up the gallop that day. Intriguingly he has been drawn right on the near rail, a big advantage here yesterday.
He will need to be ridden for luck by Harry Bentley, but there are plenty of pace options to follow and I can see the closers coming through strongly late on. Whilst he does not have much recent form to write home about, this type of contest brings out the best in him. He has second places in the Portland Handicap and Scottish Sprint Cup to his name.
Epsom 5.15: Reshoun & Star of the East
I am taking two against the field in this open looking handicap.
Reshoun made an encouraging return to the track when sixth at Newmarket at the Guineas meeting on ground that had probably got quicker than ideal for him. He was an impressive 4l winner at Doncaster on his final start of 2017 on going with a bit of cut and he should cope ok with the drying ground today. Still thoroughly unexposed, he can take advantage if there is plenty of pace on as he is a very strong stayer at this distance.
If they go a bit more steadily then the chances of Reshoun are decreased, but equally improve for Star of the East. He has run twice and won twice at Chester this season, a track that plays to his front-running profile very well. However it is worth noting he also has wins at Lingfield and here to his name too, so turning and undulating tracks suit well. He is a typically tough Mark Johnston horse to pass and still only four should have more to offer yet.
Epsom 5.50: Aces
Yet another Ian Williams import is fancied in the finale with Aces.
He made a satisfactory reappearance at Ascot last month – his debut for the yard, but will no doubt be sharper for that first run in eight months. Prior to that he had shown solid form in France where he was best raced prominently – a tactic that often works well here, and he has a crucial low draw on this turning 6f track.
Prior to his spell in France he won on his racecourse debut for Charlie Hills over this 6f trip at Windsor. Clearly well regarded there, he only raced in class 1 races for Hills thereafter, but over longer trips which did not seem to suit. He was rated as high as 108, which might have been a bit optimistic, but in theory he should be thrown in off 87 today.
1.5pts win – Century Dream – 3.10 Epsom – 7/2 general
0.5pts each-way – Harry Hurricane – 3.45 Epsom – 14/1 general (but Skybet 1/5 odds first 6)
1pt win – Star of the East – 5.15 Epsom – 9/1 general
1pt win – Reshoun – 5.15 Epsom – 8/1 Ladbrokes
0.75pts each-way – Aces – 5.50 Epsom – 8/1 general